Palestinian-American student denied entry to Israel after being told, ‘there is no such thing as Palestine’

I’ve spent my entire life hearing stories about Jerusalem and the beauty of my homeland from my mother and grandparents. I had always dreamed of one day being able to visit, and in the summer of 2012 it seemed that I would finally have that opportunity.  In September of that year I started my travels with 30 peers on a student diplomatic trip through the Middle East. I knew that I would likely face some trouble at the Israeli borders due to my Palestinian background, however what I experienced turned out to be far more than just a little “trouble”.

"The Olive Tree Initiative" in Amman, Jordan with His Royal Highness Prince El-Hassan bin Talaal of Jordan.

“The Olive Tree Initiative” in Amman, Jordan with His Royal Highness Prince El-Hassan bin Talaal of Jordan.

On September 13th, 30 of my peers and myself, made our way from Amman, Jordan to the Jordan River Crossing, the international border between Israel and Jordan. We lined up single file to go through baggage check, and have our passports checked by a young soldier who couldn’t be over the age of 25. I watched as several of my peers handed their bags and passports over and were quickly moved along. There seemed to be no trouble. As I approached the soldier and handed him my own passport, he read my name and automatically asked me to step aside. I obliged, wondering and worrying why I hadn’t been let through as easily as my friends who I could now see collecting their luggage and heading back to the bus. I waited patiently as I watched my passport be handed around from soldier to soldier, each reading my name out loud then conversing among each other in Hebrew.

Eventually one of the soldiers took my passport to the back and handed it to a young lady behind a glass window. I watched her inspect the passport and vigorously type my information into the computer screen in front of her. After about 35 minutes of her “research” on me, she called me over to her window, and proceeded to question me.

“What is the purpose of your visit to Israel?”

“I am on a student diplomatic trip with the University of California school system”

“Where are your mother and father from?”

“My father is Egyptian, and my mother is Palestinian” I noticed her smirk when I said the word Palestinian.

“Where are they now?”

“In California, where they live”

“Do you have family here in Israel?”

“No, but I have family in Palestine”

“So your mother is a Palestinian and you think that you can come to Israel?”

“Yes”

“You are not allowed to enter here because you have a Palestinian I.D.”

“No, I do not, I am an American citizen. I wasn’t born in Palestine, nor have I ever lived there”

Again she laughed, and snidely replied, “Well there is no such thing as Palestine anyway, but you have an I.D. through your mother, so you are not allowed to enter here. No Palestinians are. But you can try the Allenby Border Crossing, that is for Arabs only”

In just a few simple words it seemed that she had stripped me of my entire identity, erased my history, and labeled me as less than. I had never felt such anger in my life.

Devastated that I might not be able to continue my travels with my peers, it was decided that I would take a taxi an hour away to the Allenby Border Crossing and attempt to enter Israel from there. All 30 of my peers, all American citizen, UC students, just like me, had all gotten through already, but because my mother possesses a Palestinian ID, I was being denied entry into my own homeland. I was beginning to see the blatant racism that my mother had tried to warn me about unravel in front of me. Israel’s goal is for every Palestinian to denounce their Palestinian ID, therefore giving up their right to ever return to live in Palestine. I felt a surge of pride that my mother had refused to do so, despite the fact that it was hindering not only her own, but also, my ability to see my homeland. I knew that it was one of the strongest forms of resistance she could take.

I got into a taxi with 3 members from my traveling group, and we made our way to the Allenby Border Crossing. After about an hour, we arrived, and again I waited in the passport control line. I approached the window as my turn had finally arrived and I handed my passport to the small blonde woman working behind the counter. She took my passport and scanned it, and automatically said,

“Do you have another passport?”

“No”

“You are lying to me. You have a Palestinian ID”

“No, I don’t. I am an American citizen. My mother is simply originally Palestinian”

“You are a Palestinian, you cannot come to Israel. Wait there”

I headed to the waiting area, and spent the next 3 hours sitting and watching my passport be handed back and forth between soldiers and employees. Every so often I would be called aside and questioned about the reasoning for my visit and my family. Finally another young female soldier holding my passport, called out my name, and I replied. She asked me to follow her, so I did. I assumed I would be questioned for what seemed like the 100th time that day. She led me through the building and out sliding glass doors in the back. As we kept walking, I wondered where she was taking me, but again assumed I was simply being led to another building for further questioning. Finally, she stopped in front of a bus, and simply handed the bus driver my passport and said, “Return her”. I automatically panicked.

“Return me? Return me where?”

“You are going back to Jordan. You cannot come to Israel”

“I can’t go back, I have no phone, and I didn’t even tell the people I was with that I’m leaving. Please just let me go tell them”

“No. You will get on the bus and go back”

At this point I was truly afraid, and so I raised my voice to call attention and said, “No. I need to go back to my group. I will not get on the bus”

Suddenly, another man dressed in full military uniform holding a gun approached, and said, “You need to calm down right now and get on the bus”

Again, I pleaded, “Please just let me go tell them I’m leaving”

The man then lifted his gun, pointed it at me, and cocked it and said, “Get on the bus”

I had never had a gun pointed at me, and had never been so terrified in my life. Through tears I begged them to just let me tell my group, and finally the woman gave in and snarled, “You have 30 seconds to run back”

Yara Karmalawy

Yara Karmalawy

I sprinted back to where I had left the 3 members from my group that were with me and that is where I ultimately broke down. Here I was a mere minutes from the cities where my mother spent her youth, the land that I have always considered home, and a series of young men and women barely older than me were in control of whether I was to be allowed entry or not. The only difference between myself and my 30 peers, who had already gained entry, was that I was born to a Palestinian mother, and because of this, Israel would continue to deny me entry to my homeland until my mother has denounced her ID.

Between sobbing, I quickly explained what had happened to the 3 members I was with, as I saw the young female soldier walk back into the building behind me. She didn’t dare say anything to me in front of my group. She knew that her intimidation attempts would stand no chance now that she didn’t have me secluded. I had now been attempting entry into Israel for ten hours, and I was exhausted. I couldn’t stand one more soldier who was practically my age telling me that I was not allowed entry into Israel. Just the idea that these youth were controlling these borders made me sick, I could see the perpetuation of this brutal occupation first hand and I was disgusted.

I watched the female take my passport and place a huge stamp on an inside page. I now had a mark on my passport that would let everyone know I was of Palestinian descent. This stamp was only made up of 9 digits, the 9 digits of my mother’s Palestinian ID. It no longer mattered that I was an American citizen, UC student on a student diplomatic trip with 30 of my peers. Instead, these 9 digits were the only thing that defined me in Israel. These 9 digits had become my only identity.

I finally had my passport handed back to me and was once again told that I would not be allowed entry into Israel. Despite all my efforts, my background was going to keep me visiting my homeland. Somehow the same young men and women who I could have been in school with had my mother stayed in Jerusalem and raised me there, were the ones to deny me entry. The saddest part to me is that I know my experience is only a very minor example of the challenges that Palestinians face on a daily basis. When their identity and culture is not being actively erased from history and denied, it’s being used against them perpetuating the inequality and injustice that the occupation brings about.

Wall graffiti along the alleys of Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. (Photo: Yara Karmalawy)

Wall graffiti along the alleys of Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. (Photo: Yara Karmalawy)

Finally, after many more hours of pleading and reaching out to as many connections as possible, I was eventually able to gain entry into the West Bank. However I was still denied entry into Israel, and the 9 digit stamp in my passport would make sure of this at every checkpoint.

My only hope from all of this is that my story will encourage people to ask questions and to learn more about the Palestinian struggle. We need to start by educating ourselves and as many people around us as possible.

About Yara Karmalawy

Yara Karmalawy has a B.A. in Political Science and Legal Studies with a focus on the Middle East from UC Santa Cruz. She is currently pursuing an international law degree.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation | Tagged

{ 84 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. OlegR says:

    So eventually she was allowed entry into the west bank.
    Which can be argued as ok since it is not sovereign Israel even though the borders are.
    Regarding entry in to Israel proper she has no rights to it and the state does not have to explain anything to her just like Us border control can deny me entry at will without stating a reason.

    /Finally, after many more hours of pleading and reaching out to as many connections as possible,/
    I would like to hear more of this how did we come from gun pointing an telling you to get on a bus to ok lets let you in anyway.
    I would looe to hear how did that happen.

    Because right now it sounds like lots of words about nothing.

    • it is not sovereign Israel even though the borders are

      could you link to a source for those sovereign israeli borders please.

    • talknic says:

      @ OlegR “…the west bank.
      Which can be argued as ok since it is not sovereign Israel even though the borders are”

      Rather oxymoronic. How many times must you be pointed to the Armistice Agreements where they say

      2. The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question. link to pages.citebite.com

      An ultimate settlement of the Palestine question has never been reached. Until such time as it has been reached, Israel’s borders are as they were asked to be and were recognized

      “MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: I have the honor to notify you that the state of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947, and that a provisional government has been charged to assume the rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law. The Act of Independence will become effective at one minute after six o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948, Washington time.” link to trumanlibrary.org

      Why do you keep ignoring facts while continuing to post absolute nonsense?

      “Regarding entry in to Israel proper..” … being in fact the aforementioned ” frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947″

    • Inanna says:

      When it comes time to pay the debt that Israel owes to the Palestinians, I hope that you are treated a lot better than Palestinians are currently treated by Israel. Because even though you are an ethno-religious supremacist, even you don’t deserve to be treated like you treat them.

    • Djinn says:

      I would like to hear more of this how did we come from gun pointing an telling you to get on a bus to ok lets let you in anyway.
      I would looe to hear how did that happen.

      Then try talking to people of Palestinian background who try to enter. Or many non Palestinians whom Israel suspects of being sympathetic to the Palestinian people. It’s very common. A friend of mine, Australian born to Palestinian parents, attempts to visit the WB every few years in order to work with a well known international charity. Sometimes he is denied entry, sometimes he is granted entry with relative ease and others after long periods of delay, intimidation, interrogation and yes harrasment and abuse from gun toting children in Israeli uniforms. The only constant is the harassment, the actual rules and decisions change by the minute and depend on the whims of whichever official you speak to at any given point.

      My own experience, as a white girl with UK/Australian passports hasn’t been too dissimilar. During the endless hours spent at both Allenby and Erez I have been questioned and re-questioned, been told I’m refused and then approved in the space of minutes, been told to leave my passport with officials and go and get food because the wait will be long and then screamed at because I left, been ordered to wait in a specific place then had guns pointed at me because I shouldn’t be standing there.

      As a Jewish citizen of Israel with no history of supporting Palestinian rights in any way, I’ve no doubt your experience crossing borders controlled by Israel is a breeze. Speak to anyone outside your delusional zio-bubble and you’ll hear plenty of stories like Yara’s.

  2. pipistro says:

    A No Comment button should be next to the Post Comment one.

  3. Cliff says:

    God, what a scumbag.

    Again she laughed, and snidely replied [...]

    It would take all my strength not to knock that douchebag out right then and there.

    • OlegR says:

      You are welcome to try Cliff.
      Though i wouldn’t reccomend it, might be unhealthy.

      • Cliff says:

        I’m sure I’d be fine, Oleg.

        You’re welcome to visit me in the States. Try acting like an IDF soldier here and see where that gets you.

    • SQ Debris says:

      The point of these abuses is incitement and radicalization. Victimhood is a necessary prerequisite in justifying the endless abuse of Palestinian people. So abuse until you get a punch in the face, or a bullet in the belly, then scream “I was attacked because I’m a Jew! The goyim are congenitally bent on wiping us out!” Reverend King may have been right that, in the face of a racist narrative, non-violence is the logically effective strategy against permanent usurpation of human rights. On the other hand Nelson Mandela and Ho Chi Minh’s strategy of Violence Until Liberation was demonstrably more effective than Abbas’s “security cooperation.”

  4. Bumblebye says:

    So the nation of Palestine *has* been annihilated, according to these young IOF mob goons. And we are left with Israel playing the negotiation game until it can get this fait accompli internationally recognized, and the remaining “foreign infiltrators” walled up in bantustans.

    • seafoid says:

      It’s still there. The bureaucracy is a response to their fear of what they did in 1948.

    • just says:

      And a young American whose Mom has a Palestinian ID is denied her personhood, her heritage, her right of a simple visit.

      And the Israeli female tells her that she doesn’t exist, but denies her entry anyway. And then a gun is pointed at her, and the “goon” behind it tells her to “get back on the bus”.

      Oh my, Rosa Parks comes to mind. And the Zionists deny that they practice Apartheid, when they have perfected it and raised it to ever more disgusting heights– (or are they plumbing the depths of discrimination and ethnic cleansing?)

      It was a “student diplomatic trip” — anyone need reminders that Israel has no respect for diplomacy??

      I thought not.

  5. eljay says:

    I’ve spent my entire life hearing stories about Jerusalem and the beauty of my homeland from my mother and grandparents. …

    … I was born to a Palestinian mother, and because of this, Israel would continue to deny me entry to my homeland …

    “… I am an American citizen. I wasn’t born in Palestine, nor have I ever lived there”

    Palestine isn’t your homeland – it’s your mother’s and grandparents’ homeland.

    That said, the way you were treated by Zio-supremacists during your attempted visit to the supremacist “Jewish State” is utterly shameful but, unfortunately, not surprising.

    • John Douglas says:

      “Palestine isn’t your homeland – it’s your mother’s and grandparents’ homeland.”

      ejay, I too reject the racist idea that blood creates someone’s homeland. If it did I, for example, would have three or four more than the one that is mine. But neither does birthplace. The U. S. is my homeland because I choose to live here, identify myself the way I do and take part in its life. If Yara Karmalawy wishes to consider Palestine her homeland, and she doesn’t violate anyone’s rights by doing so, then there is no reason to claim that Palestine is not her homeland.

      • eljay says:

        >> If Yara Karmalawy wishes to consider Palestine her homeland, and she doesn’t violate anyone’s rights by doing so, then there is no reason to claim that Palestine is not her homeland.

        I agree that as long as she doesn’t violate anyone’s rights OR expect to be granted any of the rights or privileges enjoyed by people whose actual homeland is Palestine, she can pretend all she wants that Palestine is her homeland.

        And while that doesn’t and won’t make it her homeland, it does strike me as a bit of a slap to the face to her actual homeland – the country in which she was born and raised and in which she continues to reside.

        • RoHa says:

          “it does strike me as a bit of a slap to the face to her actual homeland – the country in which she was born and raised and in which she continues to reside.”

          Particularly since she keeps appealing to her US citizenship during the wrangle with the Israeli official. One would hope that a student of international law would have a clearer perspective on these matters. (As well as knowing the difference between “renounce” and “denounce”.)

          But given the appalling treatment she has just been subjected to, it will probably take a little while for her regain clarity about the subject.

      • Pamela Olson says:

        I was going to say the same thing, John. It isn’t up to Eljay what someone considers his or her homeland. What counts is behavior — whether you violate anyone else’s rights to claim that homeland. All she’s trying to do is claim the rights that are afforded to her and her family under international law, but are denied her by a lawless regime that takes what it wants by force.

        • eljay says:

          >> It isn’t up to Eljay what someone considers his or her homeland.

          She’s completely free to consider Palestine as her homeland, just as Jewish American citizens are completely free to consider Israel as their homeland, and just as I – a first-generation Canadian – am completely free to consider Italy and Croatia as my homelands.

          The fact remains that Palestine isn’t her homeland any more than Israel is theirs or Italy and Croatia are mine.

          (Note: I replied to John Douglas’ comment at 11:24 this morning, but my reply hasn’t passed moderation yet.)

        • tree says:

          The fact remains that Palestine isn’t her homeland any more than Israel is theirs or Italy and Croatia are mine.

          And the reason that Palestine isn’t her homeland (using the narrow sense of homeland as where she was born) is because her mother was ethnically cleansed from Palestine by the Israeli government and not allowed to return.

          Ironically, the Israeli government admits that Palestine is her homeland by citing the fact that they have given her a Palestinian ID. Israel controls the Palestinian ID registry. If they considered her simply an American, they would have let her enter Israel just as they allowed all the other UC students on the tour. She was denied permission exactly because Palestine was her homeland.

        • eljay says:

          >> And the reason that Palestine isn’t her homeland … is because her mother was ethnically cleansed from Palestine by the Israeli government and not allowed to return.

          I agree. And that’s unfortunate. But it doesn’t change any facts.

          >> She was denied permission exactly because Palestine was her homeland.

          The way I read it, she was denied permission because she was deemed to be Palestinian by Zio-supremacists who enjoy infringing upon the rights of people who are either:
          - Palestinian, originally from Palestine (which she is not); or
          - of Palestinian descent and from some other country (which she is).

          And just to be clear, I did and do condemn Israel’s policy and the fact that it rendered her unable to visit Israel and occupied Jerusalem.

        • ritzl says:

          Exactly, tree. Well said. The “irony” is irrefutable and damning. It’s unclear from the article, but the phrasing suggests that Ms. Karmalawy too had a number. If she didn’t then, she does now. Just wow!

        • tree says:

          And that’s unfortunate. But it doesn’t change any facts.

          Yes, it does. Her mother was ethnically cleansed from I/P. Because of that Yara has been denied the right to choose to live in her (and her mother’s and her grandparents) homeland and where she would have most likely been born if not for Israel’s ethnic cleansing. To deny her the right to consider Palestine her homeland when neither she nor her mother chose of their own accord, without outside pressure, to leave there, is tantamount to condoning and justifying a virtual expulsion.

        • eljay says:

          >> To deny her the right to consider Palestine her homeland … is tantamount to condoning and justifying a virtual expulsion.

          I did not deny her the right to consider Palestine her homeland. (It’s not a right I have any power either to grant or deny.) I just pointed out that it’s not her homeland. That was a statement of fact, not a statement condoning ethnic cleansing.

        • tree says:

          I just pointed out that it’s not her homeland.

          She was denied the right, by Israel, as was her mother, to chose Palestine as her homeland. Until she is granted the right to chose, if she wishes, the homeland she is currently denied, and chooses freely to live elsewhere, then it is condoning Israel’s actions to insist that it is “not her homeland”. At this point it is only “not her homeland” because Israel denies her the choice to live there, and you are agreeing with that.

        • RoHa says:

          I’m not really sure what a “homeland” is supposed to be, but if it isn’t the land of the home you live in, what can it be?

          I was born in Britain, but my home is in Australia. That makes Australia my homeland.

          And it would seem that Ms. Karmalawy’s home is in the USA.

        • eljay says:

          >> She was denied the right, by Israel, as was her mother, to chose Palestine as her homeland.

          I agree.

          >> Until she is granted the right to chose, if she wishes, the homeland she is currently denied, and chooses freely to live elsewhere, then it is condoning Israel’s actions to insist that it is “not her homeland”.

          No, it’s not. Until she is granted the right to choose, the fact remains that her homeland is not the place she would like it to be. It’s the place she was born and raised in, and in which she resides.

          >> At this point it is only “not her homeland” because Israel denies her the choice to live there, and you are agreeing with that.

          Well, sure. It can’t be her homeland if she wasn’t born there and doesn’t reside there.

          But you seem to be confusing this statement of fact with some sort of approval for how Israel operates. I don’t approve of it at all.

          And if at some point she is permitted to immigrate to and settle in Israel or Palestine and she chooses to do so, Israel or Palestine can become her homeland. No argument from me.

        • Sumud says:

          Eljay for you homeland means birth country (or possibly where a person has citizenship?) but for others it didn’t mean the same thing:

          link to en.wikipedia.org

          I adhere to the looser definition, best summarised as ‘home is where the heart is’, especially for refugees and their family. Obviously you don’t condone ethnic cleansing!!!

        • eljay says:

          >> Eljay for you homeland means birth country (or possibly where a person has citizenship?) …

          To me it means country of birth or country of residence/citizenship.

          >> but for others it didn’t mean the same thing:

          I kinda got that feeling… ;-)

          >> link to en.wikipedia.org
          >> I adhere to the looser definition, best summarised as ‘home is where the heart is’, especially for refugees and their family.

          Fair enough. But then you need to accept the Zio-supremacist assertion that the geographic region of Palestine is actually the millennia-old homeland of “the Jewish people”:

          A homeland … is the concept of the place … to which an ethnic group holds … a deep cultural association with …

          >> Obviously you don’t condone ethnic cleansing!!!

          Thanks for noticing. ;-) :-D

        • Sumud says:

          Fair enough. But then you need to accept the Zio-supremacist assertion that the geographic region of Palestine is actually the millennia-old homeland of “the Jewish people”

          Can do. It doesn’t mean you automatically get issued with a passport though…

        • eljay says:

          >> Can do. It doesn’t mean you automatically get issued with a passport though…

          Automatically, perhaps not. But if Israel is the homeland of “the Jewish people”, then the “Jewish State” of Israel is within its right to extend special immigration privileges to any Jew anywhere in the world who applies for citizenship to the “homeland” he is not from and in which he has never resided.

          I don’t accept the validity of that premise.

        • Sumud says:

          It’s normal for a country to set it’s own immigration policy though, and privilege certain people over others.

          Israel’s Law of Return wouldn’t be nearly so offensive if they weren’t simultaneously preventing the return of indigenous Palestinians, if the whole country wasn’t based on stolen land and looted property and resources.

    • SQ Debris says:

      Eljay’s hilarious. People with no connection to the land, other than going to shul, or simply based on their last name, make a “brand” of the place being their homeland. Someone who is first generation Palestinian diaspora is told “Palestine isn’t your homeland.” Pretty weird comment considering how most diaspora Palestinians wound up outside of Palestine. Without Zionist pressure Yara probably would have been born in Palestine. Context baby, context.

      • eljay says:

        >> Eljay’s hilarious.

        I’m not laughing.

        >> People with no connection to the land, other than going to shul, or simply based on their last name, make a “brand” of the place being their homeland.

        And I do not accept this claim.

        >> Someone who is first generation Palestinian diaspora is told “Palestine isn’t your homeland.”

        Rightly so. She was born and raised in the U.S. and has lived there all her life.

        >> Pretty weird comment considering how most diaspora Palestinians wound up outside of Palestine.

        It’s a fact that her mother was immorally and unjustly expelled from Palestine. But that fact does not change the fact that Yara was born and raised in the U.S., is a U.S. citizen, and has lived in the U.S. all her life.

        >> Without Zionist pressure Yara probably would have been born in Palestine. Context baby, context.

        She would have been, but she wasn’t. Context, baby, context.

    • Ellen says:

      The expression “Homeland” is troubling. It is a Zionist term and comes from ideas and language of “Heimatland.”

      It was sickening when the US adopted it, but then again the Homeland Security Act was largely written by Zionists (ie. Chertoff). This act also assured the inability to sue Israeli firms who work on contracts for the US “Homeland” security.

      • ‘homeland’ is a word i don’t remember hearing hardly at all (if ever) growing up in america, now it’s everywhere.

        • Ellen says:

          The first time I ever heard it used was in reference to Israel. Wolf Blitzer used it in debates when he was working for AIPAC.

          Then came 9/11. Then came the expression “Homeland” to refer to the USA. It was sickening.

          It is a translation from the German, “Heimatland,” or just Heimat or the NZ-Whermacht term, “Heimatschutz,” which means Homeland Security or Homeland Protection.

          Americans have adopted this strange Zio language after their own government did. I think it was Chertoff who suggested the name of the agency. Go figure.

        • A disturbing trend, in my view.

        • thanks ellen. yes, quite disturbing james. and now, one presumes, we’re all supposed to develop emotions over the homelands.

          the world seemed so much better then, before the new vernacular…

        • MHughes976 says:

          I have sympathy with eljay: I don’t really want to oppose Zionism with its own rhetorical weapons. Mind you, the contradiction in the attitudes of the gun-toting young border guards is worse, especially because they have all the power on their side. Palestine doesn’t exist yet defines the person they’re dealing with.

  6. Ellen says:

    Yara, what a horrible story. Please send a copy of this and follow up with a phone call (or have your friends help with the calling) to every co-signer of the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013 which has provisions to waive visas for Israeli citizens.

    link to govtrack.us

    Here are all the co-sponsors of this bill introduced by Sen. Barbara-in-AIPAC-pocket-Boxer

    53 cosponsors (27D, 26R) (show)
    Blunt, Roy [R-MO]
    Cardin, Benjamin [D-MD]
    Collins, Susan [R-ME]
    Cornyn, John [R-TX]
    Manchin, Joe [D-WV]
    Wyden, Ron [D-OR]
    (joined Mar 06, 2013)
    Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]
    (joined Mar 11, 2013)
    Casey, Robert “Bob” [D-PA]
    (joined Mar 11, 2013)
    Schatz, Brian [D-HI]
    (joined Mar 11, 2013)
    Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI]
    (joined Mar 11, 2013)
    Boozman, John [R-AR]
    (joined Mar 12, 2013)
    Crapo, Michael [R-ID]
    (joined Mar 12, 2013)
    Johanns, Mike [R-NE]
    (joined Mar 12, 2013)
    Heinrich, Martin [D-NM]
    (joined Mar 18, 2013)
    Hoeven, John [R-ND]
    (joined Mar 18, 2013)
    Moran, Jerry [R-KS]
    (joined Apr 08, 2013)
    Chambliss, Saxby [R-GA]
    (joined Apr 09, 2013)
    Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]
    (joined Apr 10, 2013)
    Begich, Mark [D-AK]
    (joined Apr 15, 2013)
    McCaskill, Claire [D-MO]
    (joined Apr 15, 2013)
    Pryor, Mark [D-AR]
    (joined Apr 16, 2013)
    Roberts, Pat [R-KS]
    (joined Apr 17, 2013)
    Tester, Jon [D-MT]
    (joined Apr 23, 2013)
    Heller, Dean [R-NV]
    (joined Apr 25, 2013)
    Hatch, Orrin [R-UT]
    (joined May 06, 2013)
    Murkowski, Lisa [R-AK]
    (joined May 06, 2013)
    Mikulski, Barbara [D-MD]
    (joined May 07, 2013)
    Scott, Tim [R-SC]
    (joined May 09, 2013)
    Gillibrand, Kirsten [D-NY]
    (joined May 20, 2013)
    Ayotte, Kelly [R-NH]
    (joined May 21, 2013)
    Johnson, Tim [D-SD]
    (joined May 21, 2013)
    Cruz, Ted [R-TX]
    (joined May 23, 2013)
    Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI]
    (joined May 23, 2013)
    Coons, Chris [D-DE]
    (joined Jun 04, 2013)
    Merkley, Jeff [D-OR]
    (joined Jun 04, 2013)
    Schumer, Charles [D-NY]
    (joined Jun 04, 2013)
    Rubio, Marco [R-FL]
    (joined Jun 07, 2013)
    Wicker, Roger [R-MS]
    (joined Jun 07, 2013)
    Kirk, Mark [R-IL]
    (joined Jun 10, 2013)
    Bennet, Michael [D-CO]
    (joined Jun 25, 2013)
    Burr, Richard [R-NC]
    (joined Jun 26, 2013)
    Isakson, John “Johnny” [R-GA]
    (joined Jun 26, 2013)
    Risch, James [R-ID]
    (joined Jun 26, 2013)
    Thune, John [R-SD]
    (joined Jul 08, 2013)
    Donnelly, Joe [D-IN]
    (joined Jul 09, 2013)
    Hagan, Kay [D-NC]
    (joined Jul 09, 2013)
    Heitkamp, Heidi [D-ND]
    (joined Jul 18, 2013)
    Landrieu, Mary [D-LA]
    (joined Jul 23, 2013)
    Baucus, Max [D-MT]
    (joined Jul 24, 2013)
    Graham, Lindsey [R-SC]
    (joined Jul 25, 2013)
    Grassley, Charles “Chuck” [R-IA]
    (joined Aug 01, 2013)
    Lee, Mike [R-UT]
    (joined Sep 11, 2013)
    Markey, Edward “Ed” [D-MA]
    (joined Oct 01, 2013)

    Yara, inside your passport it reads:

    The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in the case of need to give all lawful aid and protection

    You were within your rights to immediately contact the US Embassy when first denied entry into a country with whom the US has friendly relations. The Embassy is obligated to assist you in such a situation in Israel.

    • just says:

      All 54 of those Congresspeople are insane on this issue– an issue that is disgraceful and dishonest and hypocritical.

      I wish this horrible narrative would make it to the MSM.

      Thanks Yara for sharing it, and I fervently hope that you and your Mom freely visit Jerusalem soon without any cruel, abusive, and discriminatory treatment. Jerusalem belongs to you and yours, too.

    • Sammar says:

      Ellen – “The Embassy is obligated to assist you in such a situation in Israel.”

      They may well be “obligated” in theory – but they probably wont be of much help in practice. Standards differ in Israel from any other country in the world. US embassy and consulate in Israel usually are unable – and possibly even unwilling – to provide any assistance to Americans who are being refused entry.

  7. Rusty Pipes says:

    Yara, I hope that you and the other 30 UC students on your trip will contact Senators Boxer and Feinstein about your experience. Either send a letter to their California offices or post a constituent comment to their Senate websites.

  8. pipistro says:

    Maybe I’m naive, yet I wonder what it could have been the outcome of a call to the US Consulate.

    • I wonder what it could have been the outcome of a call to the US Consulate.

      i guess you haven’t read “US Embassy to American in trouble in Israel: ‘You’re not Jewish? Then we can’t do anything to help you’”

      link to mondoweiss.net

      • yrn says:

        Annie

        They would probebly tell her to read the restriction posted on the US State Department website.
        link to travel.state.gov

        “Palestinian-Americans: PA ID holders, as well as persons believed to have claim to a PA ID by virtue of ancestry, will be treated for immigration purposes as residents of the West Bank and Gaza, regardless of whether they also hold U.S. citizenship. Israeli authorities consider anyone who was born in the West Bank or Gaza or who has parents or grandparents who were born or lived in the West Bank or Gaza as having a claim to a PA ID.”

        Israelis cannot enter the US without a visa or permission.
        If an Israeli dose not read those restrictions, come to the US and is not aloud to enter and calls the Israeli Embassy, they will tel them the same thing.

        • Israeli authorities consider anyone who was born in the West Bank or Gaza or who has parents or grandparents who were born or lived in the West Bank or Gaza as having a claim to a PA ID.

          yes i know what the rules are, i think i made that point here: link to mondoweiss.net

          persons believed to have claim to a PA ID by virtue of ancestry, will be treated ….. as residents of the West Bank and Gaza,

          it’s still racist. everyone knows what that means.

        • eljay says:

          >> ” … Israeli authorities consider anyone who was born in the West Bank or Gaza or who has parents or grandparents who were born or lived in the West Bank or Gaza as having a claim to a PA ID.”

          Speaking of what does or does not constitute this or that sort of person, why do you continue to cower from my request that you answer five simple questions? Please don’t shy away – please have the courage to reply. Thank you.

          FYI, here are hophmi’s answers. And, below, for your convenience I have posted the questions yet again.
          _____________________________
          For my education – and the education of others – please provide clear, definitive and unambiguous answers to these five questions:

          1. What are the criteria for considering a person to be a Jew? Please don’t omit any.

          2. Is being a Jew the same as being Jewish?

          3. Under what circumstances – if any – can a Jew be stripped of his Jewish identity and rendered not a Jew?

          4. Can a person be a Jew and not belong to “the Jewish people”?

          5. Can a person belong to “the Jewish people” and not be a Jew?

        • yrn says:

          What’s racist about that, Are you not American and got your ID because your Parents are American?

          If The Lady would have read and followed all those regulation she would not have to go over this case.

          It’s like an Idiot Israeli coming to the US without a visa and telling a horrible story of the Immigration that did not let him in.
          I would tell him, you deserve it Idiot.

        • pipistro says:

          Thanks Annie & yrn.
          Sure I was naive, now I’m also a bit more disgusted.

        • Dutch says:

          “Palestinian-Americans: PA ID holders, as well as persons believed to have claim to a PA ID by virtue of ancestry, will be treated for immigration purposes as residents of the West Bank and Gaza, regardless of whether they also hold U.S. citizenship. Israeli authorities consider anyone who was born in the West Bank or Gaza or who has parents or grandparents who were born or lived in the West Bank or Gaza as having a claim to a PA ID.”

          Says the occupying power. Amazing that this can exist.

        • What’s racist about that, Are you not American and got your ID because your Parents are American?

          yes, and Yara Karmalawy is also american and got her american ID because both her parents are american and she was born in the US just like me. but israel doesn’t recognize that american ID, because it chooses not to. it chooses to give her, and every other person of palestinian descent, a palestinian i.d AS IF she lived in the west bank or gaza, based solely on her palestinian ethnicity. this is not rocket science yrn. you just do not want to see it or see the racism inherent in this policy.

          and if you still do not see it consider that israel does not do that to me, they do not consider my american id as if it did not exist and assign me an id of my europen anscestors as if i was born in some european country. iow, all american passports are not equal in the eyes of israel. arab americans are treated differently, it’s racist.

          and for your information the american political representatives of Yara and her parents are the same as mine. Yara and her parents pay taxes to the same american government,hold the same citizenship and should be represented in the same way as all americans. america, unlike israel, is a civic national state and government. that means the laws apply in the same way for all of us regardless of ethnicity. whereas israel, being an ethnic national state applies their discriminatory policies to us too. it divides us into ethnic categories for the purpose of discrimination.

        • yrn says:

          Annie Robbins
          “but israel doesn’t recognize that american ID”
          Well point out where is it mentioned.
          If Yara as every American and every person in the world, read the regulation coming out from here own state department, she would not have to go all this process she chose too.

          Any person in the world reads his state department regulation and will not go to a country he knows will not let him in.
          If He chooses to play those games, he is the one to take responsibility for his decision.

          Nothing more to this story.

  9. Mike_Konrad says:

    Did Israel get visa free agreements?

  10. Mike_Konrad says:

    How would the Israelis know she has a Palestinian mother?

    Was she in the area before?

    • Qualtrough says:

      Well, we just learned that the US has an agreement to turn over intercepts made on US citizens to Israel, so you can add that to their bag of tricks.

    • tree says:

      Mike, Israel controls the Palestinian population registry. They simply look it up in their own records, which is what the woman “behind the glass” was doing when she entered the information into her computer.

      • ritzl says:

        @tree Yeah that was amazing. The Israelis would have to track all Palestinians, globally, to do that. And assign them all numbers… Fugly.

        • Sumud says:

          Border control would be so much easier for The Start-up Nation if they could tattoo Palestinian’s identity numbers on their arms, what an innovation…

    • go see the gatekeepers. israel’s been keeping meticulous records of palestinians for years. and read pappe’s ethnic cleansing of palestine. they were keeping meticulous records of individuals in all the villages for years before israel became a state.

      and not only that, israel likely has files and files of psychological profiles of individual palestinians which includes how they (and their relatives) respond under pressure, including torture. what their political affiliations are etc. the palestinians people likely have been subject to psychological profiling like no other people on earth. they are experimented upon and profiled like no other people. why? because israel treats them like lab rats. remember “40% of the male population, had been imprisoned by Israel at one point in time.” link to mondoweiss.net it’s disgusting. in gaza, they even count their calories.

      • yrn says:

        Annie

        Thant’s not all, Israel has files of what you eat, the color you like your flowers, your favorite movies and much more.

        There is not limit to your fantasies……………

        • the color you like your flowers

          and the length of my toenails no doubt.

          all joking aside i do find it ‘special,’ the implication you would have us speculate over whether israel keeps records of their administrative detention/torture/demographics or surveillance programs regarding israel. little benign israel would not do anything like that….of course they’re much too busy studying…me!

  11. Great story. Should be on the front page of a few American newspapers.

  12. bangpound says:

    This is a hard lesson for people. Olive Tree Initiative is a normalization project and should be boycotted, and as far as I can tell, they’ve neglected to mention this person’s catastrophic experience on their site.

    • ckg says:

      I agree. Palestinian Americans need to be wary of involvement with normalization projects. And also church-sponsored tours of the Holy Land. You’re likely to get parked in a neighboring country while the rest of your church group tours the Biblical sites. When they finally meet up with you they’ll wonder what terrorist threat you made to deserve this.

      • ritzl says:

        OMFG! Well if Ms. Karmalawy’s experience doesn’t tie normalization efforts, Boxer’s genuflection to Israel (but not, apparently, to her own [US/CA] constituents), and Israel’s global and meticulous tracking of Palestinians in order to, ironically, deny their heritage, I don’t know what does. What explosive exposure.

        From OTI’s Mission Statement (link in article):

        OUR MISSION

        The Olive Tree Initiative is a university-based organization that promotes conflict analysis and resolution through rigorous academic preparation, experiential education and leadership development. OTI provides students, faculty and community participants with the education, training and experiences needed to better understand, negotiate and resolve conflicts.

        I guess so, but almost certainly not in the way it was/is intended to be “understood.”

        I hope that you all at EI and here at MW follow up on this. What a glaring example of the truth of the situation. Who funds OTI, anyway?

        Thanks for pointing this out. If Ms. Karmalawy did this in order to expose this normalization subterfuge, well done, and more power to her and others.

        …Whoops, meant to reply to bangpound…

  13. RoHa says:

    “You are not allowed to enter here because you have a Palestinian I.D. … Well there is no such thing as Palestine anyway, but you have an I.D. through your mother, so you are not allowed to enter here. No Palestinians are.”

    ‘Palestinian’ means ‘from Palestine’. Palestine does not exist, therefore there can be no Palestinian IDs or Palestinians. So she can’t be Palestinian, and should be allowed to enter.

    How does she get an ID through her mother if she has not applied for it? (Perhaps this is a feature of IDs from places that don’t exist.)

    ” I was being denied entry into my own homeland.”

    She’s an American citizen, born in the USA. Palestine is not her homeland.

    “Israel’s goal is for every Palestinian to denounce their Palestinian ID, therefore giving up their right to ever return to live in Palestine.”

    Renounce. And, yes, that’s it. Just more of the ethnic cleansing.

    • you have an I.D. through your mother, so you are not allowed to enter here. No Palestinians are.”
      …..
      How does she get an ID through her mother if she has not applied for it?

      israel assigns id’s to people of palestinian descent , for the purpose of keeping them out, whether they apply for them or not.

      • RoHa says:

        So they have compiled a list of all the Palestinians and check anyone with a vaguely Palestinian looking name to see if they are on the list. A lot of work to keep out people who don’t exist from a place that doesn’t exist.

        What do they do about Atlanteans and Ruritanians?

  14. Qualtrough says:

    What is really disgusting about these types of events is that if the US government had a spine and used one one hundredth of the potential leverage it has it could snap its fingers and make this stop in a heartbeat. Instead, our politicians are now considering giving Israelis across the board free access to the USA.

  15. I hope Yara will do a follow-up piece and share her experiences in the West Bank.

    Also, assuming the 2013 itinerary was similar to that of 2012 posted here link to olivetreeinitiative.org, it seems Yara’s peers in the Olive Tree Initiative group may have also visited the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. What did they discover? Was Yara able to meet up with them there and compare notes, so to speak?

    Thanks for sharing this encounter–looking forward to hearing more.

  16. kayq says:

    These IDF fools seem to think that Palestinian is synonymous with Jordanian…

    • yrn says:

      kayq

      80% of the Jordanians are Palestinians.

      • Cliff says:

        You mean whatever % of Jordanians were ethnically cleansed from Palestine by Jewish terrorists.

      • Dutch says:

        @ yrn

        You guys are laughable. One part tries to deny the sheer existence of ‘Palestinans’ at large, the other claims that Jordan is full of them.

        You know what? Israël is full of Europeans that were not even related to each other or their ‘Jewish homeland’. Their homelands are here, in Europe, not the Middle East.

  17. The sheer level of denial is mind-boggling.

    Truly.

  18. Obsidian says:

    ‘There is no such thing as Kurdistan.’

  19. bijou says:

    Someone or more than one someone should take this case to a legal route. Can she try suing Israel in an American court for denigrating and distorting her citizenship? I am not a lawyer but it really seems as if there should be a legal avenue to redress this somewhere. She is an American citizen — American-born, right? and Israel is treating her as if her American citizenship simply doesn’t matter, doesn’t exist. “No, you will NOT enjoy the privileges of American citizenship, sorry.”

    It feels to me as if political pressure is worthless with this Congress, but a loud, very public, and successful law suit – preferably some kind of collective “class” law suit — might make Israel sit up and take notice.

    This is an outrage on so many different levels….